Freedom of Speech. It seems like a simple idea, but there’s really nothing simple about it, especially when that’s not the term we use it for this concept here in Canada. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a lot of discussion online about who was violating someone else’s Freedom of Speech, but are we really aware of what that term entails.
In section 2(b) of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it says that, “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication.” Note that no where does it say the words “Freedom of Speech,” but the intent is the same: “The protection of freedom of expression is premised upon fundamental principles and values that promote the search for and attainment of truth, participation in social and political decision-making and the opportunity for individual self-fulfillment through expression.”
Prompted by the recent drama and controversy concerning the town hall with People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, it might be time for us to revisit the real definition, and implications, of what it means to exercise your Freedom of Expression. To help us understand the concept and practice of Free Expression, we’ll hear from James Turk, a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University and the Director of Ryerson’s Centre for Free Expression.
This week on the podcast, Turk will give you a primer on the Freedom of Expression in Canada, and what your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to that freedom. He also talks about the effect of our “bubbles,” and how our social media silos might be having a negative effect on our ability to hear things we may disagree with. And he will also discuss issues of anonymity with social media, the paradox of people like Alex Jones who uses his platform to lie and harass, and whether we might all benefit from lessons about Free Expression in our civics classes.
So let’s talk about your right to express yourself on this edition of the Guelph Politicast!
You can learn more about James Turk and his work at Ryerson’s Centre of Free Expression by visiting their website here. And did you know that the Government of Canada will send you your own personal copy of the Charter in either poster or certificate sizes for free? You can order your copy by visiting the Heritage Canada here.
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